Picture This

An El Cerrito mid-century makeover elevates the epoch.


The beamed ceiling, hardwood floors, the tile roof, and natural lighting add character to the home.

The homes along El Cerrito’s coastal crest afford their occupants some of the world’s most recognizable, and enviable, views. Nestled in the treetops, the low-slung abode at 1127 Contra Costa Drive provides the perfect picture frame.

What seems an inauspicious, single-story dwelling opens to a meticulously resurrected three-bedroom, 3.5-bath mid-century masterpiece. Its gently sloping, fire-conscious tiled roof provides the exterior structure for an expansive interior space defined by wood and an abundance of natural light, before revealing itself as a tri-level home encased by two decks along the rear façade.

Enter the home to a magnificent great room with vaulted and beamed hardwood ceilings (and well-placed skylights), indoor/outdoor access, and spans of glass offering mind-blowing views from the Golden Gate to the San Mateo Bridge.

With almost unimpeded sightlines to the outdoors, and an intuitive floor plan, a stager’s vision infuses the home with a sense of what living in a period-perfect home might be like.

“We staged the space to reflect the mid-century epoch,” said Amy Bromstead of Redefining Space, “and styled with period-specific furnishings—like reclaimed wooden tables and benches, hairpin legs, lots of vintage pieces, and Eames-style seating. Our goal was to create a sleek, modern aesthetic in keeping with the home’s ethos.

“The property has stunning views, so we chose a palette of subtle blues and greens, evocative of the natural surroundings to unify the interior and exterior spaces,” added Bromstead. “We wanted the home’s architecture to speak for itself.”

The great room’s inherently neutral palette is made dramatic by a brick fireplace painted smoky black and enlivened through the subtle use of color and texture. A few steps up, an adjacent formal dining room keeps the party intimate, or not, with room for guests to mingle indoors and out. You can almost hear the ice clinking in glasses.

Sleek and purposely designed, the galley kitchen features de rigueur modern stainless appliances, an abundance of storage options, and gleaming granite countertops with elbow room for a family of foodies. A meter-wide window above the kitchen sink will have you arguing over who gets to do the dishes.

Take your morning coffee and daily news drenched in sun in a cozy, corner breakfast nook—or simply step outside for the full effect.

Descend a flight to the home’s three bedrooms, including a generously proportioned master that’s more penthouse luxury suite than “bedroom,” made complete by a spa-worthy bathroom and enough closet space to satisfy a Kardashian.

Secondary bedrooms share a bathroom, with an additional “surplus” room for guests or a home office. True to the tenets of mid-century modernism, the bedrooms all have outdoor access and exquisite San Francisco Bay views. Down one more flight is a self-contained apartment with outdoor access—perfect for an au pair or student.

If this home isn’t spectacular enough, 1127 Contra Costa’s unusually deep yard and optimal sun exposure is ripe for reinvention as an urban farm, an outdoor kitchen, or private family sanctuary in an exceedingly tranquil setting.

Can you picture it?


The Particulars

1127 Contra Costa Drive, El Cerrito

Price: $1,599,000,

3 Bedrooms

3.5 Bathrooms

4-Car Garage

3,444 Square Feet

Additional au pair unit (currently rented)

Agent: Andrea Gordon, Red Oak Realty


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